Tribulations of Jean Valjean make for exciting theater in 'Les Miz'

"Les Misérables" runs at the Orpheum Theater from Tuesday to Jan. 19.

YOU PROBABLY know French author Victor Hugo wrote the sweeping epic "Les Misérables," which was turned into an uber-popular musical 35 years ago by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg. It's considered one of the greatest novels of all time.

But you might not know that Hugo was a visual artist as well.

The revamped version of "Les Miz" that opens at the Orpheum Theater on Tuesday will feature reimagined scenery inspired by some of his paintings, as well as brand-new staging.



It's " 'Les Miz' for the 21st century," according to the Huffington Post.

The story still is a classic, however, and the music remains the same. It's a tale of redemption and passion — Jean Valjean serves 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread and attempting numerous breakouts. After being paroled, he meets a kind priest, who inspires him to make something of his life, but is relentlessly pursued by police inspector Javert.

Songs in the show include "I Dreamed a Dream," "Stars" and "Bring Him Home," among others.

More than 120 million people in 52 countries have seen the musical. It will be in Omaha through Jan. 19.

BETSIE FREEMAN

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